Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes on Sunday over the Trump camp’s refusal to wear masks during recent events including the presidential debate, prompting Cortes to loudly complain that Wallace was “starting to harangue” him.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Cortes first likened President Donald Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19 to a trip on baseball’s injured list, insisting that the president’s “going to be back in again throwing 95-mile-an-hour fastballs.” Wallace, unimpressed with the Trump flack’s analogy, quickly brought up Trumpworld’s irresponsibility when it comes to social distancing and mask-wearing.
“I want to go back to the Rose Garden event last Saturday where the president announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court,” Wallace noted. “I want you to take a look at this picture that we have here. Seven people there, the president and first lady, Senators Lee and Thom Tillis, Kellyanne Conway, Reverend John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, and Chris Christie. All of those seven people in that picture have since tested positive for COVID. Question, Steve, people packed together, the vast majority not wearing masks, how does that make sense?”
Cortes, meanwhile, claimed that “tremendous precautions are taken to protect the president,” adding that Trump getting infected shows us “this virus has that kind of power” but that Trump is “unwilling to completely sequester himself” because “leaders take risks.”
The Fox News Sunday host, however, went ahead and brought up Tuesday’s debate, pointing out that despite the Cleveland Clinic laying out rules that everyone in the building were to wear masks, the Trump family and other Trump officials flouted the requirement.
Do they think that the health and safety rules for everybody else do no apply to them?” Wallace pressed.
Cortes insisted that was “not the reality,” asserting that everyone was tested beforehand.
“Steve, it doesn’t matter,” Wallace interjected. “Everybody in that room was tested and the Cleveland Clinic’s regulation was, it didn’t matter, everybody except for the three of us on the stage was to wear a mask and people from the Cleveland Clinic came over and offered the first family masks, thinking maybe they didn’t have them.”
“They were waved away and the Commission on Presidential Debates has issued a statement saying, from now on if you don’t wear a mask, you’re going to be escorted from the hall. So forget this question of being tested beforehand,” Wallace continued, causing Cortes to try to jump in.
“No! I’m going to finish my question,” the Fox anchor shouted. “Everybody was told to wear a mask. Why did the first family and the chief of staff feel that the rules for everybody else didn’t apply to them?”
Saying masks are “very useful,” Cortes then attempted to claim that there’s an “element of individual choice” and that the “people were distanced.” Wallace quickly highlighted that they “weren’t distanced” and there is “no freedom of choice” as they clearly broke the rules.
“I was there like you were and they were distanced!” Cortes exclaimed.
“No, they broke the rules!” Wallace shot back. “Why did they break the rules?”
During this exchange, the program aired video of the Trump family all sitting close together at the debate.
“Chris, the way you’re starting to harangue me now actually reminds me of what you did to the president during that debate on Tuesday night,” Cortes whined in response. “You were not a neutral moderator then. I don’t mind tough questions. I welcome reasonably tough questions. What I don’t think is okay is for you to become the effective opposition to the president.”
“And everyone there was tested in the crowd, they were distanced from each other,” the Trump adviser added, prompting Wallace to once again explain to his viewers that they weren’t socially distant and “they will be kicked out next time.”
“Steve, let me just say the president interrupted me and the vice president 145 times, so I object to saying I harangue to the president. I know it’s the talking point,” Wallace concluded, getting the final word on the subject.